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Measure to expand background checks for gun sales passes by razor-thin margin

The Nevada ballot measure that would expand background checks to private gun sales and transfers passed by a thin margin on Tuesday night.

The “Yes” vote on Question 1, which would require in-person background checks for all guns sold among friends, online and at gun shows, was approved by a 50.45 percent to 49.55 percent margin.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, the vote tally was 558,586 to 548,685, according to the Nevada Secretary of State.

“As we wait for the final vote count, we’re grateful to the coalition of Nevadans who spoke out in favor of Question 1, including leaders from law enforcement, business, faith and government who worked together for this common-sense measure that can save lives while respecting the rights of law-abiding gun owners,” said Yes on 1 campaign manager Joe Duffy.

During the campaign, opponents argued that the proposed law was poorly worded and unclear and that it doesn’t define what constitutes an established shooting range or what the “reasonable fee” for the new class of background checks would be.

Robert Uithoven, state director for the opposing PAC NRA Nevadans for Freedom, called it a “razor-thin margin” and said that opponents were “thrilled with the fact that it’s as close as it is, especially based on recent polling.”

A Review-Journal poll conducted by Bendixen & Amandi International between Oct. 20 and Oct. 23 showed that 54 percent of 800 likely voters polled supported the measure, while 38 percent were opposed.

NRA Nevadans for Freedom pumped $6.5 million in advertising and ground-game work to fight the expansion of background checks. About $2 million of that came from the NRA’s national political arm.

The money the opponents raised proved to be a fraction of what the pro-Question 1 group raised during the election cycle.

The measure’s sponsoring PAC, Nevadans For Background Checks, saw heavy funding from the national gun-safety group Everytown for Gun Safety. Nearly $11 million of the more than $15 million raised by that PAC came from Everytown for Gun Safety, according to campaign finance reports.

Contact Colton Lochhead at clochhead@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4638. Follow @ColtonLochhead on Twitter.

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